By Staff Sgt. Kelly S Malone (Leonard Wood)July 2, 2015
I am having trouble identifying the vegetable plants from the massive amounts of weeds that have taken over my garden with all of the rain the region has seen over the last few weeks.
While pulling grass and other nuisance plants from around my sweet potatoes I felt like I would never see fresh dirt again. Then I discovered the Master Resilience Training connection. Just as I was about to throw in my rake, I started to sort through my MRT lessons.
I realized that the only way to win against the battle of the weeds and feeling like an inferior gardener was a heaping dose of iceberg detection and not of the lettuce-type, some real-time resilience and solid goal setting.
In MRT, an iceberg is based on a core value or deep belief you may have been raised to believe, like attaining perfection, which, by the way, is non-existent. These icebergs are generally from your childhood and may not be relevant and even disruptive in our adult lives.
So I started looking at the icebergs in my garden.
When I garden, I apply two icebergs from my upbringing: to do things to the best of my ability and to provide for my Family. By having a garden, I was fulfilling the latter. It was time to re-evaluate the former to see where I confused doing my best with trying to be perfect.
I had to take the pressure off of myself to achieve a garden such as I have seen on TV commercials and home-improvement shows. I didn't have a media crew scheduled to to showcase my garden on TV anytime soon. I just needed to have enough tomatoes to make some salsa for the next Family get-together and preserve some corn for winter.
Plus, weeds don't often change the taste of the vegetables, so why worry?
Having put perfection aside, I thought about the art of real-time resilience. This is the art of fighting back on those counterproductive conversations we have with ourselves. When I first saw the weeds taking over, my first thought was they were beating me. By redirecting my attention from these negative obstacles, I was able to put greater energy into the task at hand -- growing organic food for my Family and saving money. A few, or even a lot of weeds weren't going to stop me.
Then, I took to looking at my goals. Gardening is hard work, which also needs to be balanced with many other responsibilities in life. If I spent two hours weeding on Monday and an hour on Tuesday, by Wednesday, Monday's rows already had weeds three-inches tall. It was exhausting, but I outsmarted the weeds. I put together a plan with my available time to commit to the goal of providing organic food for my Family, while saving money. I enlisted a few hours of support from my Family, to get as far ahead of the weed growth as possible and I gave myself a flexible timeline.
Having goals is important and helps one become more confident when you achieve them. It is the goals I choose and how I go about reaching them that can either bog me down or pave the way to success. You may find the same in your life.
When I look at my garden, I forgive myself if progress slows due to other life events. I just recalculate and "Charlie-Mike," or continue the mission.
The lesson is not to get lost in the weeds, literally or figuratively.
Next time your weeds start taking over, think about MRT: control your icebergs, avoid the negative obstacles, and get your goals in order.
Your garden, or the goal you set for yourself, will soon flourish.
For more information about MRT, contact Army Community Service, Family Advocacy Program, Building 486, or call 573.596.0131, ext. 60212. Visit ACS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Leonard-Wood-Army-Community-Service-ACS/, or go to www.armyfit.mil.
(Editor's note: Malone is a photojournalist with Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs.)